Designing and Facilitating Engaging Virtual Meetings

  • MDV4008aCourse Code

Keeping remote participants actively engaged when meeting virtually doesn’t happen by chance. It takes time, thought, skill, and practice to design virtual meetings that are relevant, interesting, productive, and engaging. In this interactive workshop series we explore factors that contribute to the design and facilitation of great virtual meetings, including setting clear expectations, ensuring adequate preparation and prework, embedding ample opportunities for continuous interaction, and asking great questions at the right time. We use a combination of case studies, individual idea generation, group sharing, and role-plays.

Despite thoughtful planning and design, managing the dynamics of a virtual meeting can be challenging in the moment. Participants will learn how to manage distractions, disruptions, difficult behaviors (e.g., dominant and passive participants), and unhelpful digressions. We’ll also share tips for managing time, keeping conversations focused, and wrapping up to ensure follow-through.

Target Audience

Individuals who will benefit from this course include anyone who plans and leads virtual meetings, especially those who struggle with lackluster participation. This interactive workshop series is designed for a maximum of 15 participants, using a combination of audio conference and online meeting area.

Course Objectives

  • Use objective criteria to decide whether or not a meeting is necessary.
  • Describe the necessary roles needed for an effective meeting.
  • Connect inclusive facilitation techniques with positive meeting outcomes.
  • Define best practices for the four stages of virtual meeting facilitation.
  • Apply facilitation skills to real-life meeting scenarios.

Key Takeaways

  • Guidelines for designing virtual meetings with engagement in mind
  • Tips for making prework more compelling
  • Hybrid meetings: Steps to creating a level playing field
  • Choosing the best combination of technology to heighten engagement
  • Approaches for managing difficult dynamics, including prolonged silence
  • Tips for keeping people engaged and interested in productive conversations

Pre-Course Work

  • Participants will read a case study in advance of the first module and will be asked to respond to a brief series of prework questions in an online conference area prior to all three modules.

Course Outline

Opening Activities
  • Class Activity: Reading the Signs Icebreaker
  • Class Spectrogram
Meetings by the Numbers
  • Why Do We Have Meetings?
  • Are Meetings Effective?
  • Class Activity: What Drives You Crazy with Meetings?
  • Do We Need a Meeting?
The Role of the Facilitator
  • What Is Facilitation?
  • Facilitator Responsibilities
  • Characteristics of Effective Facilitators
Virtual Meeting Facilitation Best Practices
  • Preparing
    • Ground Rules
    • Agenda
  • Initiating
  • Facilitating
  • Closing
    • Action Items
    • Closing with Focus and Momentum
    • Summary Notes
  • Planning for Meeting Challenges
  • Meeting Starters
  • Building in Fun
  • Handling Real-World Scenarios
Facilitating Engagement
  • Using Meeting Roles
    • Facilitator
    • Note-Taker/Scribe
    • Timekeeper
    • Gatekeeper
  • Flexing to Different Learning/Processing Styles
  • Building in Interactivity
  • Essential Facilitation Techniques
    • Bridging
    • Clarifying
    • Redirecting
    • Summarizing or Paraphrasing
    • Group Activity: Facilitating Engagement